The Universe Should Have Collapsed After the Big Bang?
In the aftermath of the proposed evidence for inflation theory and the discovery of the Higgs boson, cosmologists from Kings College London have concluded that the universe should have collapsed a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.
According to the Big Bang theory, the universe underwent a process called cosmic inflation right after the Big Bang, in which the universe expanded rapidly at an accelerating rate. In March, scientists using the BICEP2 telescope claimed to have found one of the predicted effects of inflation, ripples in spacetime called gravitational waves. The KCL researchers combined this finding with the discovery of the Higgs boson and the subsequent investigation of its properties. The Higgs boson is a type of particle whose existence confirms the presence of the Higgs field, or a universe-wide field of energy that affords previously massless particles with mass. This force field also prevents our universe from falling into a great abyss and collapsing into nothing.
When the researchers from KCL attempted to recreate the conditions of the Big Bang, informed by these two discoveries, they found that the universe should have experienced a disturbance in the Higgs field called quantum fluctuation, which would have caused the universe to have a low energy state. As a result, the collapse of the universe would have been inevitable.
Robert Hogan, a PhD student at KCL who led the study, stated the somewhat obvious (unless you subscribe to some version of the Matrix theory): "This is an unacceptable prediction of the theory because if this had happened we wouldn't be around to discuss it." Thanks for the clarification, Hogan.
Although the findings of this study are clearly incorrect, the research is significant because it points theoretical physics in the direction of explaining the process that prevented the universe from collapsing. "The generic expectation is that there must be some new physics that we haven't put in our theories yet, because we haven't been able to discover them," Hogan said.
The leading contender for this explanation is supersymmetry, or the notion that every particle has a counterpart with slightly different properties, or "superpartner." Hogan believes that with a more powerful particle accelerator, these "sister particles" could be discovered. There is also doubt as to the veracity of the evidence for gravitational waves. Since this study was partially based on this evidence, this would explain the incongruity of these findings.